Intrinsic neurons of Drosophila mushroom bodies express short neuropeptide F: relations to extrinsic neurons expressing different neurotransmitters.

Helena A.D. Johard, Lina E. Enell, Elisabeth Gustafsson, Pierre Trifilieff, Jan A. Veenstra, Dick R. Nässel
J. Comp. Neurol.. 2008-04-01; 507(4): 1479-1496
DOI: 10.1002/cne.21636

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Mushroom bodies constitute prominent paired neuropils in the brain of insects, known to be involved in higher olfactory processing and learning and memory. In Drosophila there are about 2,500 intrinsic mushroom body neurons, Kenyon cells, and a large number of different extrinsic neurons connecting the calyx, peduncle, and lobes to other portions of the brain. The neurotransmitter of the Kenyon cells has not been identified in any insect. Here we show expression of the gene snpf and its neuropeptide products (short neuropeptide F; sNPFs) in larval and adult Drosophila Kenyon cells by means of in situ hybridization and antisera against sequences of the precursor and two of the encoded peptides. Immunocytochemistry displays peptide in intrinsic neuronal processes in most parts of the mushroom body structures, except for a small core in the center of the peduncle and lobes and in the alpha’- and beta’-lobes. Weaker immunolabeling is seen in Kenyon cell bodies and processes in the calyx and initial peduncle and is strongest in the more distal portions of the lobes. We used different antisera and Gal4-driven green fluorescent protein to identify Kenyon cells and different populations of extrinsic neurons defined by their signal substances. Thus, we display neurotransmitter systems converging on Kenyon cells: neurons likely to utilize dopamine, tyramine/octopamine, glutamate, and acetylcholine. Attempts to identify other neurotransmitter components (including vesicular glutamate transporter) in Kenyon cells failed. However, it is likely that the Kenyon cells utilize an additional neurotransmitter, yet to be identified, and that the neuropeptides described here may represent cotransmitters.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus